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Guidelines for Law Enforcement

These guidelines are intended for law enforcement authorities seeking information about Medium accounts or users. These guidelines are intended to help inform law enforcement and the public about our practices, and are not legal advice.

If you’re not a law enforcement agent, your request for user data should be submitted through our User Happiness team (write to us using our contact form).

What is Medium?

Medium is an online publishing platform that lets users read, write, and share ideas and information. People and organizations publish content through our website, mobile site, and client applications (e.g., Medium for iOS).

You can read more about Medium in Ev’s Welcome to Medium post. For the latest on Medium’s features and functionality, visit our Help Center.

What Account or User Information Does Medium Have?

Most Medium information is public. A Medium account profile contains a profile photo, header photo, lists of posts a user has published or recommended, and collections the user has created. Please see our Privacy Policy for more information on the data we collect from or about users.

Medium provides hosting for account profile photos and header photos, as well as some image and video uploads. However, users may also post images that are not hosted by Medium (for example, by embedding a photo or video from another site).

Users may also save drafts of posts or create semi-private posts, which are not public but can be shared with collaborators.

Data Retention Practices

Medium retains different types of non-public information for different time periods. For example, our server logs are retained for a maximum of 9 months. More information on Medium’s retention policies can be found in our Privacy Policy.

Account holders are able to deactivate and delete their accounts. Content deleted by account holders is generally not retained or available.

Preservation Requests

If we receive a valid request from U.S. law enforcement to preserve records which constitute potentially relevant evidence in legal proceedings, we will preserve, but not disclose, a temporary snapshot of the relevant account records for 90 days pending service of valid legal process.

Preservation requests, in accordance with applicable law, should:

  1. Be signed by the requesting official;
  2. Include the @username and URL of the subject Medium profile (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium);
  3. Have a valid return official email address; and
  4. Be sent on law enforcement letterhead.

Preservation requests may be sent via the methods described below.

Requests for Medium Account Information

Medium responds to valid legal process seeking user account information issued in compliance with U.S. law.

Non-Public, Non-Content Information Requires a Subpoena or Court Order

Non-public, non-content information about Medium users will be released to law enforcement only in response to appropriate legal process such as a subpoena, court order, or other valid legal process — or in response to a valid emergency request, as described below.

Contents of Communications Requires a Search Warrant

Contents of communications (e.g., post drafts and photos) will be released only in response to a valid search warrant from an agency with proper jurisdiction over Medium.

Medium Will Notify Users of Requests for Account Information Unless Prohibited from Doing So

Medium’s policy is to notify users of requests for their account information and provide a copy of the request prior to disclosure unless we are prohibited from doing so (e.g., we receive an order under 18 U.S.C. § 2705(b)).

Exceptions to prior notice may include exigent or counterproductive circumstances (e.g., emergencies or account compromises).

In cases in which we are not permitted to give a user prior notice, we will provide post-disclosure notice to the user unless legally prohibited from doing so.

What Details Must Be Included in Account Information Requests?

When requesting user account information, please include:

  • The @username and URL of the subject Medium account in question (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium);
  • Details about the specific information requested (e.g., basic subscriber information) and its relationship to your investigation;
  • A valid official email address (e.g., name@agency.gov) so we may get back in touch with you upon receipt of your legal process.

Please ensure that the information you seek is not publicly available on our site.

We are unable to process overly broad or vague requests.

Requests may only be submitted by mail; our contact information is available at the bottom of these Guidelines. Requests must be made on law enforcement letterhead.

We do not accept legal process via email.

Production of Records

Unless otherwise agreed prior to disclosure, we currently provide responsive records in electronic format.

Records Authentication

The records that we produce are self-authenticating. Additionally, the records are electronically signed to ensure their integrity at the time of production. If you require a declaration, please explicitly note that in your request.

Emergency Disclosure Requests and Exigent Circumstances

In line with our Privacy Policy, we may disclose account information to law enforcement in response to a valid emergency disclosure request. Under 18 U.S.C. §§ 2702(b)(7) and 2702(c)(4), Medium is permitted — but under no obligation — to voluntarily disclose information, including contents of communications and customer records, to a federal, state, or local governmental entity if Medium believes in good faith that an emergency involving imminent danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires such disclosure without delay.

Medium evaluates emergency disclosure requests on a case-by-case basis in compliance with relevant U.S. law (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 2702(b)(8)). If we receive information that gives us a good faith belief that there is an exigent emergency involving the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person, we may provide information necessary to prevent that harm, if we have it.

How To Make an Emergency Disclosure Request

If there is an exigent emergency that involves the danger of death or serious physical injury to a person that Medium may have information necessary to prevent, law enforcement officers can submit an emergency disclosure request by mail or by email to legal@medium.com with subject “Emergency Disclosure Request” (the quickest and most efficient method).

Please include all of the following information in an emergency disclosure request:

  • Clear indication on your cover sheet, which must be on law enforcement letterhead, that you’re submitting an Emergency Disclosure Request;
  • Identity of the person who is in danger of death or serious physical injury;
  • The nature of the emergency (e.g., report of suicide, bomb threat);
  • Medium @username and URL (e.g., @Medium and https://medium.com/@Medium) of the subject account(s) whose information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
  • Any specific posts you would like us to review;
  • The specific information requested and why that information is necessary to prevent the emergency;
  • The signature of the submitting law enforcement officer; and
  • All other available details or context regarding the particular circumstances.

International law enforcement authorities may also submit requests for emergency disclosure.

Mutual Legal Assistance Treaties

A Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) defines how the U.S. and another country will help each other in legal matters such as criminal investigations. Through an MLAT, a foreign government can ask the U.S. government for help in obtaining evidence from entities in the U.S., including companies like Medium. If the U.S. government approves the request, Medium would respond to it.

Medium’s policy is to promptly respond to requests that are issued via U.S. court either by way of a MLAT or letters rogatory upon proper service of process.

Assisting a Medium User

If you are assisting a Medium user with an investigation and want to obtain a copy of the user’s non-public account information, please ask the user to contact us directly (see below) to request his or her own information.

Medium Archive

Medium account holders can obtain a download of content posted to their Medium account by writing to us using our contact form with the subject line “Requesting Medium Archive.”

Non-Public Information

Medium does not currently offer account holders a self-serve method to obtain other, non-public information (e.g., IP logs) about their Medium accounts. If a Medium user requires a copy of his or her non-public account information, the user should request this information directly from Medium by sending an email to privacy@medium.com with subject “Request for Own Account Information”; we will respond with further instructions.

Other Issues

Most issues can be resolved by having Medium account holders write to us using our contact form.

General Inquiries

Other general inquiries from law enforcement or government officials can be submitted to legal@medium.com.

Contact Information

Our address is:

A Medium Corporation

c/o Legal Department

760 Market Street, Suite 900

San Francisco, CA 94102

Receipt of correspondence by any of these means is for convenience only and does not waive any objections, including the lack of jurisdiction or proper service.

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